“I’m just gonna check his diaper real quick,” she said. Oh, how those words still haunt me today.
It’s pretty much every new parent’s new nightmare: You’re out with Junior, enjoying some fresh sunshine, far, far from home. He decides to resume Bikini Atoll testing—in his pants. And you are grossly under-equipped.
Let me set the scene a little more precisely. It was a beautiful Saturday, so my wife and I packed Bub up and went clear to the other side of town. The plan was to stop at a couple places in Little Italy, go to a huge park down there, have a nice leisurely stroll, contemplate life, laugh, be merry. Round it out with a little dinner, and we had ourselves a real family adventure—ambitious, maybe, but certainly plausible.
So we grabbed the diaper bag, stroller, bottles and various accoutrements, and packed up the car for our big day out.
It all started out so well. We had sandwiches for lunch, enjoyed an Italian ice, stopped at a cupcake place. Then we headed down to the park, walked past lagoons and a quinceanera, soccer games with trash-barrel goals and full-court basketball games. We sat in the grass and watched the driving range balls disappear into the distance while Bub had his lunch. Things were going swimmingly; this was quality family time.
Finally, our appetites resurrected, we headed to our ultimate destination, a Mediterranean restaurant that had been on My List for several months, the combination of Baby and distance preventing it from being crossed off.
We found the place, no problem. It was early, there was no crowd. Got a cherry parking spot right across the street, and I went to feed the meter when my wife uttered those fateful words.
A little backstory: I had recently gotten my own diaper backpack, and we were trying it out on this particular day. I had transferred everything from her bag to mine, including the three diapers that remained, thinking that would surely be enough for six hours.
A little more backstory: Bub had not pooped in probably 4-5 days. This was not going to end well.
I came back to the car with my little parking thingie, all ready to eat, and it was like walking into the ER. Bub was sprawled on the back seat, calmly gnawing at his fingers, unconcerned with the havoc he had just wreaked. I’d probably smile too, if I had relieved myself to that extent.
Without going into too much detail, there was poop up to his armpits, in the car seat, on the back seat, all over a towel hastily thrown down, on the diaper bag, on his toy telephone, all over his clothes, a receiving blanket (not meant to receive that) and on my wife. Other than that, everything was A-OK.
I did some quick math. One diaper at the park minus one she put down under his soiled one, less one more lost to collateral damage. Three minus three equals uh-oh.
My wife, in the trenches, was remarkably calm; I was the one who freaked out. First instinct was to just tough it out. We were right there and I had just paid for parking! We could wrap him in a towel, my shirt, anything. Like Ralphie and his busted glasses, we would just fake it; nobody would notice. But we had nothing. I looked around desperately, but there was nary a CVS or Babies R' Us in sight. We were sunk.
But in my frenzy, I found a dollar store a couple blocks away that miraculously had diapers. Cheap, not exactly Pamper-esque, wrong size, etc., but diapers nonetheless. Then I realized that I had literally one dollar in my pocket, couldn’t cover the tax. Without making me explain or plead, the guy gave them to me. And fifteen minutes later, Bub was in some clean drawers, I disposed of the evidence, and we went to that Mediterranean restaurant, a little frazzled, a little grossed out. But a lot wiser.